8 Tips to Follow for a Successful Grand Opening for Your Retail Store 45

8 Tips to Follow for a Successful Grand Opening for Your Retail Store

The following article is a guest post.

You have spent years planning your retail business venture and months finally making it happen. So, what do you do now that you are ready to open the doors?

The answer is plan a grand opening, of course.

A great grand opening will do many things for your retail store, including provide an opportunity to form strategic connections from the local business area and help to build curiosity and excitement about your new business.

Follow the next steps to countdown to success.

Establish Your Goals

Before you begin to think about your budget, you should decide what the goals will be for your grand opening.

You should establish your goals first so that you can focus on them with each step of the planning process and consider how it will contribute to your overall success. Some good goals to have include:

  • To create excitement and awareness. You should plan your event so that it is exciting enough to convince the skeptics to come to your event and get people talking about your business. Even if the entire town does not show up to your grand opening, you still want them to hear about it.

  • To establish business connections. Inviting your neighbors is a great way to spread awareness and connect with the right people. Consider offering a discount for local business owners or another promotion that will bring in the people you want to be forming alliance with.

  • To provide a positive and memorable experience. The first few weeks of your business and the customer connections you make could leave a huge impact on your business. Be sure that you are prepared to leave a lasting, but positive impression.

Set Your Budget

Next, you will need to set your budget. Grand openings can be expensive, however, it is important that you remember that the extra exposure is what your company will need to build a loyal customer base and thrive in the future. Some factors that you will want to consider as you plan for your grand opening are:

  • The Cost of Marketing- In addition to the initial buzz you create around the event, you may want to offer promotions or giveaways (including merchandise) during the event.

  • Promotions- If you are running a discount or offering coupons, consider how much this will cost your business in the long run.

  • The Cost of Decorations, Supplies, and Refreshments- Depending on what you are planning, the actual day of your retail grand opening may include the cost of drinks or food, custom flags, signs, plates and napkins, or any other number of things.

  • The Cost of Labor- The final thing you must consider is the number of employees that will need to be paid to work during the grand opening. You should be sure you have enough staff on hand to handle large crowds if they happen.

Choose the Dates and Times

It is not uncommon for retail stores to have grand openings that last between two days and one week. As you consider how long you will be having your grand opening, make sure that you think about how much it is going to cost.

You should also decide if promotions or giveaways will be part of the event and what times.

Advertise the Event and Contact the Press

Once you have the day of the event set and you know what you are going to do, you should start advertising. The amount of time that you want to advertise ahead of time depends on your target market.

If you are moving to a new building, you can consider advertising with a bright sign. You can also pay for radio or newspaper advertisements, hand out merchandise, or even advertise through word of mouth on Facebook if you have a large enough following.

Finally, be sure that news reporting outlets know about the grand opening of your retail store so they can come.

Plan for the Event

The final thing that you will want to do before the day of the event is plan what is going to happen. As you plan, be sure to detail the customer’s experience before, during, and after. Communicate your goals with your team of employees and make sure that they are prepared to provide a great experience.

If necessary, plan a dress rehearsal beforehand to make sure each employee knows their specific duty and what their role is in the overall customer experience.

Be Prepared with Enough Employees

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is not having enough employees to service the customers during your grand opening. However, it is just as big of a mistake to have too many staff standing around, making the place seem as if it is slow.

Consider how many people are expected to come to each day of the event. Then, have a few extra people on hand or on call in case business surges too much.

Get Out on the Floor

Some business owners make the mistake of taking a step back from the scene and running around to make sure everything is going smoothly during their grand opening.

The best place for you, however, is right in the eye of the customers. You should be introducing yourself and making connections. Delegate the task of monitoring the event to someone else and turn your focus toward your customers.

Be Prepared for Possible Issues

Instead of frantically deciding what to do after something happens, be prepared with plans for possible issues beforehand. If you think that traffic is going to be an issue, have someone direct traffic. If your retail store is large and hard to navigate, have plenty of people on standby to answer questions.

When it comes to a successful grand opening for your retail store, be sure to countdown to success with these tips. You will find that careful planning and advertising are key if you want your grand opening to result in a major success for your business.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 5

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.